Doctors Stress Me Out

bedside manners

Simple question here – but one I have been struggling with more and more as I deal with aging parents – Why is it that doctors (more often than not) assume that both patients and their families are complete idiots!?  I understand that it likely happens more often than doctors care – I’ve been around the block long enough to get that.  But it shouldn’t be the default approach they take.  I have spent more time in the last few week arguing with doctors, nurses, and assistants than I care to keep track of.

Not being one to rant without some specific examples, I thought it might be fun to cite a couple “run ins” that I have had recently:

  • I go to visit my Dad in rehab the other night – mainly to visit, but also b/c I needed something from the hospital.  After visiting with my Dad for a bit, I get the nurse in an explain (again) what I need – her immediate response response is that she can’t help me and if I wanted that I really should have come around mid-morning.  I not-so-kindly explained that I had a day job and that perhaps she should consider communicating better with the nurse from earlier in the day since I asked her too.  It took all I had to not jump out of the chair and slap her upside the head.  I hate that they assume I should work around their schedules – last I checked I was the customer here.
  • In the above situation, I was asking for a note from the hospital stating that my Dad did not have “scabies”.  I was at a hospital – I figured that shouldn’t be hard to get right?  I spoke to four different nurses on four different occasions and they all looked at me like I had a fork in my head and was asking for papal blessing or something.  Finally, in the last conversation, I politely, but firmly explained that if I didn’t get the note the following day that I was coming to pack up my Dad’s stuff and he was leaving.  Again – a look of horror that I might go against their blessed wishes.  Long story short, I got the letter the following morning.  Ugh.
  • Last one – this time the neurosurgeon.  My Dad was supposed to have a shunt put in back in December and was two days away from the surgery when he got a bad leg infection, so it hasn’t happened yet.  We’re finally cleared of the infection and ready to go, so I call the neurosurgeon pushing to get on the schedule.  I get a call back saying they’d like to see my Dad in the office on Friday for a consult.  Huh!?  Again, I politely, but firmly said that was not going to happen, no consult was necessary, and someone better explain to the doctor that this procedure needs to happen ASAP.  They call back and reluctantly agree.  Why the F**K would he need a consult for a procedure that he was two days away from having already?

I’m just consistently amazed at the “shocked” response I get either in person or on the phone when you actually question the blessed doctor or nurse and don’t follow their direct orders.  It’s really crazy, and pretty sad that they are that arrogant.

My Dad hasn’t had the procedure yet,  but we’re making progress.  Which probably means I should prepare for at least 1-2 more medical-related arguments.

Good times!

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